Poetry Lovers' Page
Poetry Lovers' Page:
featuring complete collections of poems by the following poets:
Rudyard Kipling
Edgar Allan Poe
Robert Louis Stevenson

You are here: Home » British/American Poets » Henry Wadsworth Longfellow » Three Friends Of Mine



Share |
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Three Friends Of Mine

From A Book Of Sonnets
I

When I remember them, those friends of mine, Who are no longer here, the noble three, Who half my life were more than friends to me, And whose discourse was like a generous wine, I most of all remember the divine Something, that shone in them, and made us see The archetypal man, and what might be The amplitude of Nature's first design. In vain I stretch my hands to clasp their hands; I cannot find them. Nothing now is left But a majestic memory. They meanwhile Wander together in Elysian lands, Perchance remembering me, who am bereft Of their dear presence, and, remembering, smile. II In Attica thy birthplace should have been, Or the Ionian Isles, or where the seas Encircle in their arms the Cyclades, So wholly Greek wast thou in thy serene And childlike joy of life, O Philhellene! Around thee would have swarmed the Attic bees; Homer had been thy friend, or Socrates, And Plato welcomed thee to his demesne. For thee old legends breathed historic breath; Thou sawest Poseidon in the purple sea, And in the sunset Jason's fleece of gold! O, what hadst thou to do with cruel Death, Who wast so full of life, or Death with thee, That thou shouldst die before thou hadst grown old! III I stand again on the familiar shore, And hear the waves of the distracted sea Piteously calling and lamenting thee, And waiting restless at thy cottage door. The rocks, the sea-weed on the ocean floor, The willows in the meadow, and the free Wild winds of the Atlantic welcome me; Then why shouldst thou be dead, and come no more? Ah, why shouldst thou be dead, when common men Are busy with their trivial affairs, Having and holding? Why, when thou hadst read Nature's mysterious manuscript, and then Wast ready to reveal the truth it bears, Why art thou silent! Why shouldst thou be dead? IV River, that stealest with such silent pace Around the City of the Dead, where lies A friend who bore thy name, and whom these eyes Shall see no more in his accustomed place, Linger and fold him in thy soft embrace And say good night, for now the western skies Are red with sunset, and gray mists arise Like damps that gather on a dead man's face. Good night! good night! as we so oft have said Beneath this roof at midnight in the days That are no more, and shall no more return. Thou hast but taken thy lamp and gone to bed; I stay a little longer, as one stays To cover up the embers that still burn. V The doors are all wide open; at the gate The blossomed lilacs counterfeit a blaze, And seem to warm the air; a dreamy haze Hangs o'er the Brighton meadows like a fate, And on their margin, with sea-tides elate, The flooded Charles, as in the happier days, Writes the last letter of his name, and stays His restless steps, as if compelled to wait. I also wait; but they will come no more, Those friends of mine, whose presence satisfied The thirst and hunger of my heart. Ah me! They have forgotten the pathway to my door! Something is gone from nature since they died, And summer is not summer, nor can be.

Share |


You are here: Home » British/American Poets » Henry Wadsworth Longfellow » Three Friends Of Mine
Poetry Lovers' Page
Poetry Lovers' Page is going through renovation. Please stay tuned for new and exciting features.
We are now dictionary-enabled. Try it: double-click on any word on this page, and then click on Definition